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Author Topic: Teaching little ones about Christianity  (Read 2178 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 23, 2013, 11:35:08 PM »

Basically what the title says. I have had to keep my mouth closed about my faith to my children for a while now due to life issues but we are soon to be moving far enough away that I will feel safe enough to take them to a Church with me.

What is the best place, best means to start this? How do you guys teach your children about God, the saints and Jesus? My family says simply take them to Church with me and put them in the Sunday or weekend school offered at the OCA and let them learn by example...it doesn't seem that simple. Or maybe it is? They are 5 and 3.
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2013, 12:05:08 AM »

I've heard good things about this book:

Sister Magdalene, Children in the Church Today: An Orthodox Perspective

http://www.amazon.com/Children-Church-Today-Orthodox-Perspective/dp/0881411043
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2013, 10:59:26 AM »

pray with your kids listening.
read the Bible to your kids (you could try kids Bible stories first).
when you are telling your kids about your day, make sure you mention how God helped you not to shout at some nasty person or how to be happy in a difficult situation.
then once they have heard about a loving God, you can explain how church helps us to worhip God.
may God guide you.
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2013, 11:12:33 AM »

Taking them to church and Sunday school are both well and good, but there are things you can do yourself at home as well.

The best children's Bible available is this. Get it and start reading stories out of it like any bedtime story. Set up an icon corner and have them help you light the candles and incense. Pray with them, and get them their own prayer books once they can read confidently. Above all, be prepared to answer a gazillion questions, and don't treat their ideas as blasphemous (they will come up with a lot of weird things!).
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 11:21:37 AM »

The Lutheran church around the corner here in Granbury does Bible school and Preschool.
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 12:14:15 PM »

With young children, ages 3 and 5, you can begin to teach them short prayers, particularly "Our Father", meal time prayers, the Jesus Prayer, and short prayers from the Morning and Evening Prayers.  As people today are very busy, and small children often have difficulty sitting still, the beginning of a meal is a good time to read a few pages from the Scriptures and/or Lives of the Saints since their mouths are busy chewing rather than talking (ideally) and they are still.  Build little icon corners in their rooms that are low enough for them to be able to kiss the icons.  They need not be elaborate, but you can begin to teach them good habits such as venerating the icons upon waking and before sleep, asking the Lord to have mercy on them, the Theotokos to save them, their Guardian Angel to protect them, and their saints to pray for them.  Have a family icon corner and stand in front of it together in the morning and evening, at least to say just a cuople of prayers together.  Above all, strive yourself to become a saint!  If you are struggling to live a Christian life, to put in practice the Scriptures and the lessons you learn from spiritual reading, and if you yourself take delight in prayer, then the grace that you attract through your own life will pour out into your home, creating a spiritual atmosphere that will make an impression upon your whole family.  Unless you care first and foremost for the salvation of your own soul, it will be impossible to teach your children to place their own salvation above every other pursuit and desire.
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2013, 02:17:03 PM »

I think the post above is lovely.  Thank you, jah777.  Actions speak louder than words.  I also found the book, "Our Church and Our Children" by Sophie Koulomzin a gem.  I always recommend it, it's great, and  I loved correlating it with her memoir, "Many Worlds A Russian Life", because you could see how she raised her own children.  She is someone I would have loved to meet.
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2013, 03:57:52 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2013, 06:30:28 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2013, 09:12:18 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.   
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2013, 09:15:16 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.   

Couldn't they just as easily love an idol?
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2013, 09:20:13 PM »

Sure, I suppose, but I don't know many Orthodox parents who raise their children to worship idols, and I thought we were talking about Orthodox parents raising Orthodox children in the love and fear of God. 

Even the people I know who do worship idols don't kiss them, and that's out of their own sense of reverence that they don't kiss them.  They offer other physical displays of worship. 
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2013, 10:15:19 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.   

Yet again, Mor's nailed it.  Smiley Little ones, even tiny babies, know what love is, and they show it in its purest form.

Here's something I observed at church only a few weeks ago:

There's a young couple that comes very regularly to church, with their little daughter, who's probably not yet two. As cute as they come, and, while she wanders around church as little ones often do, she's always quiet and never disruptive. Last Sunday, there she was, in a pink hooded coat and bright red boots. I spotted her standing in front of the central icon stand.

She was trying to cross herself. She was getting it all wrong, but the concentration in her little face, and the pauses she took before touching her fingers to her forehead, or shoulders, or chest were proof that It Didn't Matter. Then, after a couple of minutes of "crossing" herself, the next step was to venerate the icon. Which was a good foot above her head. No problem. The little sweetie simply leaned forward, and kissed the drape on the icon stand. She bowed her head, then trotted off to where her father was standing.

I'm sure the Mother of God, and all the saints and angels must have been smiling as they looked on.
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2013, 07:35:25 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

I've always found that the little ones grok the whole 'to the person depicted, not the image depicting' thing with a clarity that escapes many adults.

Also, you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff.
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2013, 10:00:01 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.   

Exactly. And beautifully said. They get it - if you love someone, you give them a kiss.
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« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2013, 10:34:55 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.    

Yet again, Mor's nailed it.  Smiley Little ones, even tiny babies, know what love is, and they show it in its purest form.

Here's something I observed at church only a few weeks ago:

There's a young couple that comes very regularly to church, with their little daughter, who's probably not yet two. As cute as they come, and, while she wanders around church as little ones often do, she's always quiet and never disruptive. Last Sunday, there she was, in a pink hooded coat and bright red boots. I spotted her standing in front of the central icon stand.

She was trying to cross herself. She was getting it all wrong, but the concentration in her little face, and the pauses she took before touching her fingers to her forehead, or shoulders, or chest were proof that It Didn't Matter. Then, after a couple of minutes of "crossing" herself, the next step was to venerate the icon. Which was a good foot above her head. No problem. The little sweetie simply leaned forward, and kissed the drape on the icon stand. She bowed her head, then trotted off to where her father was standing.

I'm sure the Mother of God, and all the saints and angels must have been smiling as they looked on.

The thing people miss here is I was born & baptized into the EO church.  I was given icons since a tiny child and told to venerate them.   I just did it because people told me to.   I had a VERY saturated Orthodox childhood.   Sure time and time these things were explained, but a child is not very capable of abstract thinking.

SO despite any arguments I have against iconography, I can attest that a 5 year old child doesn't grasp the true veneration of a saint, the theotokos, or Christ.   They barely understand what they did and why nor how their sacrifice was so important.    

The key word in the subject is "TEACH".   Kissing something (or in the case of EO - someone's who has been painted that really kisses them) isn't teaching them anything.

I remember to be told to venerate certain icons when I was 5 years old.  I had no idea what I was venerating.   "Christ has risen" sung out loud.... "Conquering death by death".....  A child doesn't understand those concepts at all.

"Jesus was born of a virgin"..... "Kiss the ever virgin Mary"....   Okay, so that teaches a child what?  They don't even know what virginity is.

I think it would be much better to teach a small child what the scriptures say, so that they understand what they are doing, before people have them do it.

If they venerate without understanding, they merely are doing so blind.

Yes a small child understands what love is, but every small child will shy away from strangers and cling to their parents.   Until they can grasp "who St. Basil is", it may be a good idea to explain that before asking them to kiss the icon of him.
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2013, 10:37:12 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

I've always found that the little ones grok the whole 'to the person depicted, not the image depicting' thing with a clarity that escapes many adults.

Also, you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff.

That stinks.   I mean who'd want a child to learn biblical values and lessons after all??   Roll Eyes   Would it be better to just let them blindly kiss icons when they really have no idea what they are doing?
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2013, 10:47:17 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.   

Exactly. And beautifully said. They get it - if you love someone, you give them a kiss.

To a child, a painting is not "someone".   It's later that gets explained.   If you look at an infant that you are holding they'll make eye contact with you and keep it.  If you hold up an icon next to you, they may glance at it, but will not make eye contact as they do not see it as a person.
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« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2013, 10:55:15 PM »

Teaching and immersion in a culture go hand in hand. From the point a child is born they should be immersed in and taught such activities, stories, etc., whether they understand or not. Pious customs, sacraments, etc. are for the soul and body to experience, whether the mind can analyze or decipher or understand or not. Contemplation and understanding is certainly healthy and helpful for a maturing person, but not an absolutely necessary component, and certainly not for a very young child. What is necessary is exposure to such things, and participation when possible; as far as they understand that is good, but an inability to not understand, or understand fully, is not a reason for not participating. The same goes for everything from Baptism to the Eucharist to icons to scripture reading/hearing, and a ton of other things. Understanding will come in time, with many things anyway, but we need not wait until something can be taught and understood in the same way they would learn grammar or the multiplication table.
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2013, 11:33:38 PM »

The thing people miss here is I was born & baptized into the EO church.  I was given icons since a tiny child and told to venerate them.   I just did it because people told me to.   I had a VERY saturated Orthodox childhood.   Sure time and time these things were explained, but a child is not very capable of abstract thinking.

SO despite any arguments I have against iconography, I can attest that a 5 year old child doesn't grasp the true veneration of a saint, the theotokos, or Christ.

No.  You can attest that a 5 year old you didn't grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and icon veneration.  You might even argue that a 5 year old anyone wouldn't be able to grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and their veneration as taught by Nicaea II and ecclesiastical writers such as John Damascene and Theodore the Studite.  You can't attest more than that. 

But every 5 year old I've ever known grasps love.  And that's all it is, despite what you want to make it out to be. 

Quote
They barely understand what they did and why nor how their sacrifice was so important.

I barely understand it after a graduate theological degree.  Do you understand it?  Maybe you can if you eviscerate it beyond recognition, but if you're talking about the same Christ I'm talking about, no one can fully grasp him, his Father, or his work, even in old age.  So why pick on kids for being kids?  Jesus didn't do that.       

Quote
The key word in the subject is "TEACH".   Kissing something (or in the case of EO - someone's who has been painted that really kisses them) isn't teaching them anything.

I remember to be told to venerate certain icons when I was 5 years old.  I had no idea what I was venerating.

Look, you don't teach kids why they need to brush their teeth by explaining bacteria, germs, tooth decay, plaque, floss, etc.  You give them a brush, put some paste on it, and tell them to do it, showing them how to whatever extent and for however long it's necessary.  If they never get a DDS degree, they'll still know everything they need to know about dental care just from developing the habit of regular brushing and flossing from their training in the home.  If you made an understanding of dentistry a prerequisite for allowing children to brush, everyone's teeth would've rotted out of their mouths a long time ago. 

Quote
"Christ has risen" sung out loud.... "Conquering death by death".....  A child doesn't understand those concepts at all.

"Jesus was born of a virgin"..... "Kiss the ever virgin Mary"....   Okay, so that teaches a child what?  They don't even know what virginity is.

You're applying adult standards of education onto children, but that's not how you do it.  When you're an infant, Mom doesn't say "Hello my son, I'm your mother, and this is your father.  He became your father when he had sexual intercourse with me, and I became your mother when one of his sperm cells fertilised my ovum.  Oh, honey, you don't know what those things are?  Of course you don't, how silly of me!  Well, sexual intercourse is when your Daddy inserted his..."  No.  Mom looks at the baby and says "Mama" until the kid repeats the word and identifies it with her.  Same with Dad.  As God gives the family days and years of health and growth, you can explain little by little what those things mean as they are able to understand.  They may not really "get it" until they become parents themselves, but it's a start. 

You insist on making things more difficult than they are because you don't get it.  That's your problem.  Let the little children love God.     

Quote
I think it would be much better to teach a small child what the scriptures say, so that they understand what they are doing, before people have them do it.

Because they're going to understand the Bible if they don't understand kissing people you love?  LOL. 

Quote
If they venerate without understanding, they merely are doing so blind.

Yes a small child understands what love is, but every small child will shy away from strangers and cling to their parents.   Until they can grasp "who St. Basil is", it may be a good idea to explain that before asking them to kiss the icon of him.

And why do you assume that other children's parents don't do that? 
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« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2013, 04:37:14 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

I've always found that the little ones grok the whole 'to the person depicted, not the image depicting' thing with a clarity that escapes many adults.

Also, you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff.

That stinks.   I mean who'd want a child to learn biblical values and lessons after all??   Roll Eyes   Would it be better to just let them blindly kiss icons when they really have no idea what they are doing?

Yes, Protestant tripe does stink. That's why it's not coming anywhere near my house and family. My son has two parents who don't need books to learn how to transmit their own 'biblical values and lessons'. Kissing baby Jesus and his Mama good morning and good night is a great place to start, thanks.
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« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2013, 05:46:20 AM »

Seeing your own love for God will spark theirs; this as far as spirituality. As far as learning religion: catechism, lives of saints, going to Church, praying with them, and whatever else there is and to whatever extent it is possible for you and them. Don't mix the love part with religion; I think this is a problem (a false approach) in our days and many rebel against God, leave Church, etc., because of it...
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« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2013, 06:41:38 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

I've always found that the little ones grok the whole 'to the person depicted, not the image depicting' thing with a clarity that escapes many adults.

Also, you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff.

That stinks.   I mean who'd want a child to learn biblical values and lessons after all??   Roll Eyes   Would it be better to just let them blindly kiss icons when they really have no idea what they are doing?

So, are you Orthodox? It is difficult to tell by your labeling of yourself in your profile. Because if you aren't Orthodox you have no place to say how one should introduce icons to a child.

And Rod and Staff is some of the most racist !@#$ homeschooling curricula on the planet. I wouldn't use their stuff as toilet paper.
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« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2013, 06:51:02 AM »

For my part, I think even infants can understand icons on a level that adults can not. There have been many times when we have taken an inconsolable infant over by the altar to be near to icons and have them calm down, and stare at the icons peacefully.

Here are a few books I have found enlightening:

Our Church and Our Children
http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=OURC100

Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home
http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=MAKI120

Walking in Wonder
http://store.ancientfaith.com/products/Walking-in-Wonder%3A-Nurturing-Christian-Virtues-in-Your-Children.html

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd was an essentially Catholic approach developed by Maria Montessori. But there are a growing number of Orthodox groups out there using the same basic approach with the same training/certification. I would see if there is a group near you:
http://www.stathanasius.org/ministries/youth-education/catechesis/
http://www.cgsusa.org/
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« Reply #24 on: August 02, 2013, 09:38:17 AM »

Yesh - you are so missing the point. You are letting your virulent iconoclasm get the better of you.

The child seems to know that an icon is a representation of someone that they and their parents love. Like a photo of grandma, if you will. "This is Jesus. This is His Mother. We love Jesus, and we love His Mother, Mary." When you love someone you give them a kiss.

Are you too young to remember this song?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXavZYeXEc0
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« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2013, 10:59:38 AM »

The thing people miss here is I was born & baptized into the EO church.  I was given icons since a tiny child and told to venerate them.   I just did it because people told me to.   I had a VERY saturated Orthodox childhood.   Sure time and time these things were explained, but a child is not very capable of abstract thinking.

SO despite any arguments I have against iconography, I can attest that a 5 year old child doesn't grasp the true veneration of a saint, the theotokos, or Christ.

No.  You can attest that a 5 year old you didn't grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and icon veneration.  You might even argue that a 5 year old anyone wouldn't be able to grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and their veneration as taught by Nicaea II and ecclesiastical writers such as John Damascene and Theodore the Studite.  You can't attest more than that. 

But every 5 year old I've ever known grasps love.  And that's all it is, despite what you want to make it out to be. 

Quote
They barely understand what they did and why nor how their sacrifice was so important.

I barely understand it after a graduate theological degree.  Do you understand it?  Maybe you can if you eviscerate it beyond recognition, but if you're talking about the same Christ I'm talking about, no one can fully grasp him, his Father, or his work, even in old age.  So why pick on kids for being kids?  Jesus didn't do that.       

Quote
The key word in the subject is "TEACH".   Kissing something (or in the case of EO - someone's who has been painted that really kisses them) isn't teaching them anything.

I remember to be told to venerate certain icons when I was 5 years old.  I had no idea what I was venerating.

Look, you don't teach kids why they need to brush their teeth by explaining bacteria, germs, tooth decay, plaque, floss, etc.  You give them a brush, put some paste on it, and tell them to do it, showing them how to whatever extent and for however long it's necessary.  If they never get a DDS degree, they'll still know everything they need to know about dental care just from developing the habit of regular brushing and flossing from their training in the home.  If you made an understanding of dentistry a prerequisite for allowing children to brush, everyone's teeth would've rotted out of their mouths a long time ago. 

Quote
"Christ has risen" sung out loud.... "Conquering death by death".....  A child doesn't understand those concepts at all.

"Jesus was born of a virgin"..... "Kiss the ever virgin Mary"....   Okay, so that teaches a child what?  They don't even know what virginity is.

You're applying adult standards of education onto children, but that's not how you do it.  When you're an infant, Mom doesn't say "Hello my son, I'm your mother, and this is your father.  He became your father when he had sexual intercourse with me, and I became your mother when one of his sperm cells fertilised my ovum.  Oh, honey, you don't know what those things are?  Of course you don't, how silly of me!  Well, sexual intercourse is when your Daddy inserted his..."  No.  Mom looks at the baby and says "Mama" until the kid repeats the word and identifies it with her.  Same with Dad.  As God gives the family days and years of health and growth, you can explain little by little what those things mean as they are able to understand.  They may not really "get it" until they become parents themselves, but it's a start. 

You insist on making things more difficult than they are because you don't get it.  That's your problem.  Let the little children love God.     

Quote
I think it would be much better to teach a small child what the scriptures say, so that they understand what they are doing, before people have them do it.

Because they're going to understand the Bible if they don't understand kissing people you love?  LOL. 

Quote
If they venerate without understanding, they merely are doing so blind.

Yes a small child understands what love is, but every small child will shy away from strangers and cling to their parents.   Until they can grasp "who St. Basil is", it may be a good idea to explain that before asking them to kiss the icon of him.

And why do you assume that other children's parents don't do that? 

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« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2013, 11:52:34 PM »

The thing people miss here is I was born & baptized into the EO church.  I was given icons since a tiny child and told to venerate them.   I just did it because people told me to.   I had a VERY saturated Orthodox childhood.   Sure time and time these things were explained, but a child is not very capable of abstract thinking.

SO despite any arguments I have against iconography, I can attest that a 5 year old child doesn't grasp the true veneration of a saint, the theotokos, or Christ.

No.  You can attest that a 5 year old you didn't grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and icon veneration.  You might even argue that a 5 year old anyone wouldn't be able to grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and their veneration as taught by Nicaea II and ecclesiastical writers such as John Damascene and Theodore the Studite.  You can't attest more than that. 

But every 5 year old I've ever known grasps love.  And that's all it is, despite what you want to make it out to be. 

Quote
They barely understand what they did and why nor how their sacrifice was so important.

I barely understand it after a graduate theological degree.  Do you understand it?  Maybe you can if you eviscerate it beyond recognition, but if you're talking about the same Christ I'm talking about, no one can fully grasp him, his Father, or his work, even in old age.  So why pick on kids for being kids?  Jesus didn't do that.       

Quote
The key word in the subject is "TEACH".   Kissing something (or in the case of EO - someone's who has been painted that really kisses them) isn't teaching them anything.

I remember to be told to venerate certain icons when I was 5 years old.  I had no idea what I was venerating.

Look, you don't teach kids why they need to brush their teeth by explaining bacteria, germs, tooth decay, plaque, floss, etc.  You give them a brush, put some paste on it, and tell them to do it, showing them how to whatever extent and for however long it's necessary.  If they never get a DDS degree, they'll still know everything they need to know about dental care just from developing the habit of regular brushing and flossing from their training in the home.  If you made an understanding of dentistry a prerequisite for allowing children to brush, everyone's teeth would've rotted out of their mouths a long time ago. 

Quote
"Christ has risen" sung out loud.... "Conquering death by death".....  A child doesn't understand those concepts at all.

"Jesus was born of a virgin"..... "Kiss the ever virgin Mary"....   Okay, so that teaches a child what?  They don't even know what virginity is.

You're applying adult standards of education onto children, but that's not how you do it.  When you're an infant, Mom doesn't say "Hello my son, I'm your mother, and this is your father.  He became your father when he had sexual intercourse with me, and I became your mother when one of his sperm cells fertilised my ovum.  Oh, honey, you don't know what those things are?  Of course you don't, how silly of me!  Well, sexual intercourse is when your Daddy inserted his..."  No.  Mom looks at the baby and says "Mama" until the kid repeats the word and identifies it with her.  Same with Dad.  As God gives the family days and years of health and growth, you can explain little by little what those things mean as they are able to understand.  They may not really "get it" until they become parents themselves, but it's a start. 

You insist on making things more difficult than they are because you don't get it.  That's your problem.  Let the little children love God.     

Quote
I think it would be much better to teach a small child what the scriptures say, so that they understand what they are doing, before people have them do it.

Because they're going to understand the Bible if they don't understand kissing people you love?  LOL. 

Quote
If they venerate without understanding, they merely are doing so blind.

Yes a small child understands what love is, but every small child will shy away from strangers and cling to their parents.   Until they can grasp "who St. Basil is", it may be a good idea to explain that before asking them to kiss the icon of him.

And why do you assume that other children's parents don't do that? 

I don't assume it, but veneration of icons is teaching a child nothing.

My 4 year old and 6 year old do not venerate icons.   Yet they'll quote you biblical stories, passages, and they get all their stuffed animals and play Noah's ark together.   They love god very much in the way their little minds can understand.

If I gave them an icon and said "here kiss the Theotokos", "By the way, you are not kissing this painting but that who is represented on this painting", they would not understand this at all.    "Kiss this painting and it is kissing the person in heaven"...

This is not the icon argument I've had in other threads.  This doesn't TEACH them anything about god nor his will.  It may be "cute" to EO Christians. 

The thread topic is teaching them about Christianity.   Teach them why they should love God, about God, and how he died for their sins.   Since the EO church obviously believes in icon veneration, a child can learn the interpretation of iconography and veneration when they can understand what they are doing.

I fully grasp this concept.  I was cradle born into Orthodoxy, raised Orthodox, and I didn't really understand the abstract thinking concepts of icon veneration until nearly my teens.  I didn't understand the depth.   My life was fully immersed in Orthodoxy at that time too. (My own dad is a priest, I lived in St. Vlad's seminary as a child and attended later).  In latter childhood, I knew who was painted (had a good idea of the more depicted saints) but didn't understand the abstractness.

Basically icon veneration taught me nothing about Christianity as a child.   Later it was a large part of my Eastern Orthodox Christian beliefs.   As a teen I understood the abstract thought.
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« Reply #27 on: August 03, 2013, 12:16:33 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

I've always found that the little ones grok the whole 'to the person depicted, not the image depicting' thing with a clarity that escapes many adults.

Also, you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff.

That stinks.   I mean who'd want a child to learn biblical values and lessons after all??   Roll Eyes   Would it be better to just let them blindly kiss icons when they really have no idea what they are doing?

Yes, Protestant tripe does stink. That's why it's not coming anywhere near my house and family. My son has two parents who don't need books to learn how to transmit their own 'biblical values and lessons'. Kissing baby Jesus and his Mama good morning and good night is a great place to start, thanks.

Kissing a wooden painting of baby Jesus and his Mother does not teach them about Baby Jesus and his Mother.   Rather, the bible can teach this, and so can a good faith based education ("train your children up in the Lord"), along with biblical stories.  My children start the morning by praying then daily devotions.

I also find it amazing that a small group of Christians can launch a full blown biblically based curriculum for children, but a church of 300+ million can't.

LOL, it's the ridiculousness of the post.  As you stated "you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff".  LOL

Let's look at this HORRIBLE "PROTESTANT" evil.
http://samples.milestonebooks.com/1-11101-3/

Flip the pages:
Day 1:
God made light
Day 2:
God made the sky
Day 3:
God made the plants
Day 4:
God made the sun, moon, stars

This big, wretched, evil stuff. 

Let's move on to grade 4 (Don't let it scare you)
http://samples.milestonebooks.com/1-11401-3/
The reader book "Exploring with God"  (Scary eh?)

Read unit 1:  The Gospel of John

So scary.  So protestant.  So wickedly vile and evil.   So a 9 year old gets to read about the book of John for their education.   

 Undecided

Seriously, ridiculous.   
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« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2013, 12:19:23 AM »

The thing people miss here is I was born & baptized into the EO church.  I was given icons since a tiny child and told to venerate them.   I just did it because people told me to.   I had a VERY saturated Orthodox childhood.   Sure time and time these things were explained, but a child is not very capable of abstract thinking.

SO despite any arguments I have against iconography, I can attest that a 5 year old child doesn't grasp the true veneration of a saint, the theotokos, or Christ.

No.  You can attest that a 5 year old you didn't grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and icon veneration.  You might even argue that a 5 year old anyone wouldn't be able to grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and their veneration as taught by Nicaea II and ecclesiastical writers such as John Damascene and Theodore the Studite.  You can't attest more than that. 

But every 5 year old I've ever known grasps love.  And that's all it is, despite what you want to make it out to be. 

Quote
They barely understand what they did and why nor how their sacrifice was so important.

I barely understand it after a graduate theological degree.  Do you understand it?  Maybe you can if you eviscerate it beyond recognition, but if you're talking about the same Christ I'm talking about, no one can fully grasp him, his Father, or his work, even in old age.  So why pick on kids for being kids?  Jesus didn't do that.       

Quote
The key word in the subject is "TEACH".   Kissing something (or in the case of EO - someone's who has been painted that really kisses them) isn't teaching them anything.

I remember to be told to venerate certain icons when I was 5 years old.  I had no idea what I was venerating.

Look, you don't teach kids why they need to brush their teeth by explaining bacteria, germs, tooth decay, plaque, floss, etc.  You give them a brush, put some paste on it, and tell them to do it, showing them how to whatever extent and for however long it's necessary.  If they never get a DDS degree, they'll still know everything they need to know about dental care just from developing the habit of regular brushing and flossing from their training in the home.  If you made an understanding of dentistry a prerequisite for allowing children to brush, everyone's teeth would've rotted out of their mouths a long time ago. 

Quote
"Christ has risen" sung out loud.... "Conquering death by death".....  A child doesn't understand those concepts at all.

"Jesus was born of a virgin"..... "Kiss the ever virgin Mary"....   Okay, so that teaches a child what?  They don't even know what virginity is.

You're applying adult standards of education onto children, but that's not how you do it.  When you're an infant, Mom doesn't say "Hello my son, I'm your mother, and this is your father.  He became your father when he had sexual intercourse with me, and I became your mother when one of his sperm cells fertilised my ovum.  Oh, honey, you don't know what those things are?  Of course you don't, how silly of me!  Well, sexual intercourse is when your Daddy inserted his..."  No.  Mom looks at the baby and says "Mama" until the kid repeats the word and identifies it with her.  Same with Dad.  As God gives the family days and years of health and growth, you can explain little by little what those things mean as they are able to understand.  They may not really "get it" until they become parents themselves, but it's a start. 

You insist on making things more difficult than they are because you don't get it.  That's your problem.  Let the little children love God.     

Quote
I think it would be much better to teach a small child what the scriptures say, so that they understand what they are doing, before people have them do it.

Because they're going to understand the Bible if they don't understand kissing people you love?  LOL. 

Quote
If they venerate without understanding, they merely are doing so blind.

Yes a small child understands what love is, but every small child will shy away from strangers and cling to their parents.   Until they can grasp "who St. Basil is", it may be a good idea to explain that before asking them to kiss the icon of him.

And why do you assume that other children's parents don't do that? 

Post of the month!

Because an infant can't speak, much less understand who St. Basil is.   Nor can a 2 year old, but I've seen them venerate plenty of icons.

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« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2013, 12:22:07 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

I've always found that the little ones grok the whole 'to the person depicted, not the image depicting' thing with a clarity that escapes many adults.

Also, you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff.

That stinks.   I mean who'd want a child to learn biblical values and lessons after all??   Roll Eyes   Would it be better to just let them blindly kiss icons when they really have no idea what they are doing?

So, are you Orthodox? It is difficult to tell by your labeling of yourself in your profile. Because if you aren't Orthodox you have no place to say how one should introduce icons to a child.

And Rod and Staff is some of the most racist !@#$ homeschooling curricula on the planet. I wouldn't use their stuff as toilet paper.

I'd love to see the racism.  LOL  I can't believe this forum sometimes.
I was Eastern Orthodox at one time.

The thread was about teaching little ones about Christianity.  Blindly telling a child to kiss an icon is not teaching them.  It's no more than telling them to blow kisses.
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« Reply #30 on: August 03, 2013, 12:25:31 AM »

The thread was about teaching little ones about Christianity.  Blindly telling a child to kiss an icon is not teaching them.  It's no more than telling them to blow kisses.

Why do you have such a poor opinion of the parenting skills of everyone except you? 
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« Reply #31 on: August 03, 2013, 12:28:12 AM »

No one has said that having the very young venerate icons is mutually exclusive with teaching them other parts of loving and understanding.

Only you have implied that they are.  Sadly just because your parents didn't give added teaching, or you didn't understand it, does not make veneration of icons by children a 'Learn nothing' prospect as you say it is.  

It was for you.  Don't apply that personal experience as TRUTH.  
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« Reply #32 on: August 03, 2013, 12:42:54 AM »

At the parish we attended sometimes when we would take our daughters to church there were large icons along the walls all the way around the nave. One daughter in particular was interested in them, and would ask about them, and we would talk about who they were if we knew. Seems like a good chance to talk about love and being a good person and such.  (hint hint)  Cool

A pic from the parish:

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« Reply #33 on: August 03, 2013, 12:49:51 AM »

I don't assume it, but veneration of icons is teaching a child nothing.
I have two living proofs that, yet again, you don't know what you are talking about.
My 4 year old and 6 year old do not venerate icons.   Yet they'll quote you biblical stories, passages, and they get all their stuffed animals and play Noah's ark together.   They love god very much in the way their little minds can understand.
like their father?
If I gave them an icon and said "here kiss the Theotokos", "By the way, you are not kissing this painting but that who is represented on this painting", they would not understand this at all.    "Kiss this painting and it is kissing the person in heaven"...
would they kiss a picture of their mother?

This is not the icon argument I've had in other threads.  This doesn't TEACH them anything about god nor his will.  It may be "cute" to EO Christians.
and wrong yet again.

I remember one time when my son was 2 or 3, he saw an Orthodox Church on TV.  He immediately stood up and crossed himself.

When he was 5 he saw a Protestant church.  He didn't recognize it as a church, proof positive that it wasn't.

The thread topic is teaching them about Christianity.
True Christianity, or heretical imitations thereof?

Teach them why they should love God, about God, and how he died for their sins.   Since the EO church obviously believes in icon veneration, a child can learn the interpretation of iconography and veneration when they can understand what they are doing.
Did you have the same technique in trying to teach them to honor their father and their mother?

I fully grasp this concept.
You demonstrate otherwise. 
I was cradle born into Orthodoxy, raised Orthodox, and I didn't really understand the abstract thinking concepts of icon veneration until nearly my teens.  I didn't understand the depth.   My life was fully immersed in Orthodoxy at that time too. (My own dad is a priest, I lived in St. Vlad's seminary as a child and attended later).  In latter childhood, I knew who was painted (had a good idea of the more depicted saints) but didn't understand the abstractness.
Many of us were cradle born iconoclast Protestants.  We learned otherwise.

Basically icon veneration taught me nothing about Christianity as a child.   Later it was a large part of my Eastern Orthodox Christian beliefs.   As a teen I understood the abstract thought.
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« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2013, 12:52:37 AM »

Basically what the title says. I have had to keep my mouth closed about my faith to my children for a while now due to life issues but we are soon to be moving far enough away that I will feel safe enough to take them to a Church with me.

What is the best place, best means to start this? How do you guys teach your children about God, the saints and Jesus? My family says simply take them to Church with me and put them in the Sunday or weekend school offered at the OCA and let them learn by example...it doesn't seem that simple. Or maybe it is? They are 5 and 3.
In Church, right up front.  Point out things in the Church, in the service, etc. and tell them what they mean, why we do them etc.

Of course, the presupposes that you know.  If you don't, learn.

They learn by example: my son at 1 refused to eat unless we said grace.
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« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2013, 12:55:47 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.
Our children (meaning our whole parish) have had no problem understanding it.  The most problem they had was with the Trinity, specifically how Jesus is God and the Son of God.
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« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2013, 12:58:04 AM »

Seeing your own love for God will spark theirs; this as far as spirituality. As far as learning religion: catechism, lives of saints, going to Church, praying with them, and whatever else there is and to whatever extent it is possible for you and them. Don't mix the love part with religion; I think this is a problem (a false approach) in our days and many rebel against God, leave Church, etc., because of it...
Huh
God is love.
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« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2013, 01:00:08 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.    

Yet again, Mor's nailed it.  Smiley Little ones, even tiny babies, know what love is, and they show it in its purest form.

Here's something I observed at church only a few weeks ago:

There's a young couple that comes very regularly to church, with their little daughter, who's probably not yet two. As cute as they come, and, while she wanders around church as little ones often do, she's always quiet and never disruptive. Last Sunday, there she was, in a pink hooded coat and bright red boots. I spotted her standing in front of the central icon stand.

She was trying to cross herself. She was getting it all wrong, but the concentration in her little face, and the pauses she took before touching her fingers to her forehead, or shoulders, or chest were proof that It Didn't Matter. Then, after a couple of minutes of "crossing" herself, the next step was to venerate the icon. Which was a good foot above her head. No problem. The little sweetie simply leaned forward, and kissed the drape on the icon stand. She bowed her head, then trotted off to where her father was standing.

I'm sure the Mother of God, and all the saints and angels must have been smiling as they looked on.

The thing people miss here is I was born & baptized into the EO church.  I was given icons since a tiny child and told to venerate them.   I just did it because people told me to.   I had a VERY saturated Orthodox childhood.   Sure time and time these things were explained, but a child is not very capable of abstract thinking.

SO despite any arguments I have against iconography, I can attest that a 5 year old child doesn't grasp the true veneration of a saint, the theotokos, or Christ.   They barely understand what they did and why nor how their sacrifice was so important.    

The key word in the subject is "TEACH".   Kissing something (or in the case of EO - someone's who has been painted that really kisses them) isn't teaching them anything.

I remember to be told to venerate certain icons when I was 5 years old.  I had no idea what I was venerating.   "Christ has risen" sung out loud.... "Conquering death by death".....  A child doesn't understand those concepts at all.

"Jesus was born of a virgin"..... "Kiss the ever virgin Mary"....   Okay, so that teaches a child what?  They don't even know what virginity is.

I think it would be much better to teach a small child what the scriptures say, so that they understand what they are doing, before people have them do it.

If they venerate without understanding, they merely are doing so blind.

Yes a small child understands what love is, but every small child will shy away from strangers and cling to their parents.   Until they can grasp "who St. Basil is", it may be a good idea to explain that before asking them to kiss the icon of him.
I never explained to them who grandma was before I told them "give grandma a kiss."
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« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2013, 01:04:06 AM »

I also find it amazing that a small group of Christians can launch a full blown biblically based curriculum for children, but a church of 300+ million can't.
When that small group of "Christians" can last 2,000 years, I'll be impressed.  Till then, I'll stick with the 2,000 year old Church of 300+ million.

We were raising Christian children looooooooooooong before you were a glimmer in John Calvin's heretical eye.
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« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2013, 01:06:58 AM »

The thing people miss here is I was born & baptized into the EO church.  I was given icons since a tiny child and told to venerate them.   I just did it because people told me to.   I had a VERY saturated Orthodox childhood.   Sure time and time these things were explained, but a child is not very capable of abstract thinking.

SO despite any arguments I have against iconography, I can attest that a 5 year old child doesn't grasp the true veneration of a saint, the theotokos, or Christ.

No.  You can attest that a 5 year old you didn't grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and icon veneration.  You might even argue that a 5 year old anyone wouldn't be able to grasp the Orthodox theology of icons and their veneration as taught by Nicaea II and ecclesiastical writers such as John Damascene and Theodore the Studite.  You can't attest more than that.  

But every 5 year old I've ever known grasps love.  And that's all it is, despite what you want to make it out to be.  

Quote
They barely understand what they did and why nor how their sacrifice was so important.

I barely understand it after a graduate theological degree.  Do you understand it?  Maybe you can if you eviscerate it beyond recognition, but if you're talking about the same Christ I'm talking about, no one can fully grasp him, his Father, or his work, even in old age.  So why pick on kids for being kids?  Jesus didn't do that.      

Quote
The key word in the subject is "TEACH".   Kissing something (or in the case of EO - someone's who has been painted that really kisses them) isn't teaching them anything.

I remember to be told to venerate certain icons when I was 5 years old.  I had no idea what I was venerating.

Look, you don't teach kids why they need to brush their teeth by explaining bacteria, germs, tooth decay, plaque, floss, etc.  You give them a brush, put some paste on it, and tell them to do it, showing them how to whatever extent and for however long it's necessary.  If they never get a DDS degree, they'll still know everything they need to know about dental care just from developing the habit of regular brushing and flossing from their training in the home.  If you made an understanding of dentistry a prerequisite for allowing children to brush, everyone's teeth would've rotted out of their mouths a long time ago.  

Quote
"Christ has risen" sung out loud.... "Conquering death by death".....  A child doesn't understand those concepts at all.

"Jesus was born of a virgin"..... "Kiss the ever virgin Mary"....   Okay, so that teaches a child what?  They don't even know what virginity is.

You're applying adult standards of education onto children, but that's not how you do it.  When you're an infant, Mom doesn't say "Hello my son, I'm your mother, and this is your father.  He became your father when he had sexual intercourse with me, and I became your mother when one of his sperm cells fertilised my ovum.  Oh, honey, you don't know what those things are?  Of course you don't, how silly of me!  Well, sexual intercourse is when your Daddy inserted his..."  No.  Mom looks at the baby and says "Mama" until the kid repeats the word and identifies it with her.  Same with Dad.  As God gives the family days and years of health and growth, you can explain little by little what those things mean as they are able to understand.  They may not really "get it" until they become parents themselves, but it's a start.  

You insist on making things more difficult than they are because you don't get it.  That's your problem.  Let the little children love God.      

Quote
I think it would be much better to teach a small child what the scriptures say, so that they understand what they are doing, before people have them do it.

Because they're going to understand the Bible if they don't understand kissing people you love?  LOL.  

Quote
If they venerate without understanding, they merely are doing so blind.

Yes a small child understands what love is, but every small child will shy away from strangers and cling to their parents.   Until they can grasp "who St. Basil is", it may be a good idea to explain that before asking them to kiss the icon of him.

And why do you assume that other children's parents don't do that?  

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« Reply #40 on: August 03, 2013, 02:25:30 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

I've always found that the little ones grok the whole 'to the person depicted, not the image depicting' thing with a clarity that escapes many adults.

Also, you could not pay me to touch anything Rod & Staff.

That stinks.   I mean who'd want a child to learn biblical values and lessons after all??   Roll Eyes   Would it be better to just let them blindly kiss icons when they really have no idea what they are doing?

So, are you Orthodox? It is difficult to tell by your labeling of yourself in your profile. Because if you aren't Orthodox you have no place to say how one should introduce icons to a child.

And Rod and Staff is some of the most racist !@#$ homeschooling curricula on the planet. I wouldn't use their stuff as toilet paper.

I'd love to see the racism.  LOL  I can't believe this forum sometimes.
I was Eastern Orthodox at one time.

The thread was about teaching little ones about Christianity.  Blindly telling a child to kiss an icon is not teaching them.  It's no more than telling them to blow kisses.
Considering that the mission of this section of the forum is to foster discussion of items related to Orthodox parenting, one is required to assume that this thread is really about teaching little ones about Orthodox Christianity, regardless of what the thread title says. I can understand how you can ask your questions and post your criticisms even from an Orthodox point of view, hence my moderatorial decision to let your posts remain on this thread, but you do need to remember that we're not talking about teaching our children Christianity in general. Again, we're discussing how to teach our little ones about Orthodox Christianity.

(FWIW, my decision to leave your posts on this thread could change if the consensus of the moderator team overrules me.)
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« Reply #41 on: August 03, 2013, 03:09:30 AM »

The History curricula of Rod and Staff is simply horrific.

I vividly recall my mother buying it for the 1 year she homeschooled me. Rod and Staff creates curricula around the end goal of promoting their flavor of Christianity, rather than actually seeking to teach the subject itself.
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« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2013, 04:17:39 AM »

Well that escalated quickly.

I very much plan on teaching my little ones to venerate icons. Someone mentioned if I am still learning myself, and yes I am which is why I asked other members valuable opinions.  Grin

Mor, I greatly appreciate your answer in particular as well as Quinault's links.
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« Reply #43 on: August 03, 2013, 08:30:12 AM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.
Our children (meaning our whole parish) have had no problem understanding it.  The most problem they had was with the Trinity, specifically how Jesus is God and the Son of God.

Another story from my life, from a few years ago:

A memorial service at the church I attend was to be held for an anniversary of the death of a very close relative. Family and friends turned up for it, including a woman of Italian stock, with her two-year-old. The little guy regularly attended RC mass with his parents, their 1970s church is plain and modern inside, with the obligatory crosses, crucifixes, and statues of the Virgin and Jesus.

The Orthodox church where the memorial was being held is utterly different to that family's parish church. Though the buildings are about the same age, the Orthodox one is highly authentic in its historic architecture, and its internal walls, pillars and ceiling are fully painted with traditional-style icons. Dozens of portable icons also hang on the lower sections of the walls. The tot had never set foot in an Orthodox church before, and he was wide-eyed at the spectacle, gazing everywhere, and going from icon to icon. His little voice, soft but clear, could be heard from time to time. "Gesu!" at this icon of Christ. "Mama Gesu!" at that icon of the Mother of God. He did a lap of the nave, recognizing Christ and His Mother as he went.

He toddled back to his mom, who was standing near me, and next to a large and very beautiful icon of the Mother of God of Tenderness. The little fellow gazed for quite some time at the icon. He turned to his mom, and said: "Mama Gesu. Love."

There wasn't a dry eye in the house.





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« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2013, 01:39:02 PM »

Little ones seem to "get" icons immediately, as well, so give them icons. In church last Sunday, one of my friends held up a little girl in front of several icons and she spontaneously gave each one a kiss.

That doesn't mean she knew what she was doing nor the orthodox interpretation of it.   Usually the best thing to do with a little child is to embed the scriptures into their learning process.  I'd suggest a preschool Rod & Staff curriculum.

It's much easier for them to understand "God created light", or "Noah's Ark" than mysticism or beamed up icon veneration.

And love is the easiest of all to understand.  And that's all it is.  Love.  That's the Orthodox interpretation of it.  Not some "beamed up icon veneration" concept that you conjured up in your confusion and stubbornness to make something so natural as love for God and his saints seem like some bizarre, alien practice.  Kids love.  That's what they do, and that's why the Lord told us to become like them.  They love their parents.  They love their family.  They love their neighbours.  They love.  And so they love God.  They love his Mother.  They love his saints.  Nothing else needs to be understood.  Love.   

Yet again, Mor's nailed it.  Smiley Little ones, even tiny babies, know what love is, and they show it in its purest form.

Here's something I observed at church only a few weeks ago:

There's a young couple that comes very regularly to church, with their little daughter, who's probably not yet two. As cute as they come, and, while she wanders around church as little ones often do, she's always quiet and never disruptive. Last Sunday, there she was, in a pink hooded coat and bright red boots. I spotted her standing in front of the central icon stand.

She was trying to cross herself. She was getting it all wrong, but the concentration in her little face, and the pauses she took before touching her fingers to her forehead, or shoulders, or chest were proof that It Didn't Matter. Then, after a couple of minutes of "crossing" herself, the next step was to venerate the icon. Which was a good foot above her head. No problem. The little sweetie simply leaned forward, and kissed the drape on the icon stand. She bowed her head, then trotted off to where her father was standing.

I'm sure the Mother of God, and all the saints and angels must have been smiling as they looked on.

I've seen something similar and it really is one of the most moving things I've ever seen in Church
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« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2013, 06:19:45 PM »

Kids like to kiss stuff. The only one problem is to protect them from swallowing items.
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« Reply #46 on: August 03, 2013, 07:58:21 PM »

How appropriate seeing as I just spent over a week waiting for kiddo to pass that big coin he swallowed. laugh
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